People hugged radio sets as AIR broke news of Independence in 1947

As the nation celebrated the 75th year of Independence, several of them recollected that momentous occasion, in a mood of nostalgia

KAKINADA: The dawn of Independence at the midnight hour beginning 15, August, 1947, was a memorable experience cherished even today by those in their late 80s or 90s, forming the last of the living witnesses of that epoch-making event.

As the nation celebrated the 75th year of Independence, several of them recollected that momentous occasion, in a mood of nostalgia, and yet lamented the steady fall in values of the post- Independence politicians across the country.

As first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru addressed the nation on this day, these patriots were glued to the few radio sets available in their towns and villages those days. A retired gazetted officer in the Accountant General office, Lolla Subbarayudu (89), said he was aged 14 and studying in high school at Palakollu in West Godavari district when India attained Independence. He heard Nehru’s speech in English with rapt attention.

“I did not understand a word. Yet, I sensed that it was a great occasion. All of us were distributing sweets throughout the night and we spent a sleepless night. It was only later that I understood the meaning of Nehru’s famous phrase India’s Tryst with Destiny,” he recollected.

Recollecting the pre-Independence politics, he said that Madduri Annapurnaiah who was jailed for 14 years had proposed the name of Subhas Chandra Bose as the President of the Congress against the candidature of Gandhi-associate Bhogaraju Pattabhi Seetharamaiah at the Avadi Congress conference. Bose defeated Pattabhi, but this was not acceptable to the Mahatma.

Therefore, Netaji Subhas Bose was forced to leave the country and he joined hands with the Germans to fight against the British, he recollected.

“Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Madduri Annapurnaiah, Durgabhai Deshmukh and others were stalwarts. They may have differed on certain points. But, they were intellectual giants and great patriots.”

Madduri Annapurnaiah studied along with revolutionary Alluri Seetharama Raju whose statue was recently unveiled at Bhimavaram by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it was noted.

“I had personally seen many of them. Those were stirring times. Madduri Annapurnaiah, a famous socialist leader, worked along with Rammanohar Lohiya and Jai Prakash Narain. He was also our hero. He was born in Komaragiri near Pithapuram and known as Andhra Nethaji,’’ he said.

Sagiraju Varaha Appala Narasimha Raju, 87, a librarian, recollected his experiences when he was a Class VI student in Pithapuram. “I was studying in Pithapuram Maharaja high school and we were all aware that India gained Independence from the British. But we were not aware that after Independence, our political leaders will stoop to such low levels,’’ the 87-year-old said.

Raju rides a bicycle even at this age and distributes medicines to people, as he practises a system of native medicine. “Many were hugging the radio sets and dancing in the streets when the midnight hour came for India’s Independence,’’ he recollected.

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